Born to please: Bagel brings joy at Heritage Living Center

Story and photos
by Callie Sterling

Lauren Talbot believes in giving second chances, and she gave one by adopting Bagel.  

“I rescued Bagel when she was about a year old,” Talbot said. “I got her from a rescue group called Dogs Only, which is an Arkansas-based rescue group.”

Talbot is unsure of Bagel’s exact breeds, but knows that she is a mix of more than one type of dog.

“When asked her breed, I typically just say, ‘She’s adopted,’” Talbot said. “She definitely has some Golden Retriever in her. I also think she has some St. Bernard and Collie in her as well.”

Talbot, administrator of Heritage Living Center in Conway, and Bagel have become very close in the last six years.

“I have been at Heritage Living for two years now,” Talbot said. “Bagel comes to work with me sometimes to visit the residents.”

Bagel is not a certified therapy dog. However, Talbot believes that Bagel’s presence makes a positive impact on the residents and guests at Heritage Living Center.

“I like to bring Bagel to HLC in the evening,” Talbot said. “The evening is usually a good time because the residents are winding down for the day.

The residents throw her toys and give her treats.”

Talbot believes that Bagel brings happiness to all patients, even those who have never owned a pet.

“Everyone benefits from a pet visit,” Talbot said. “For those residents that have owned a dog, I feel Bagel brings back good memories. Even the residents who didn’t grow up with pets enjoy watching her. They like watching her relate to other residents as she fetches her toys or begs for a treat.”

Talbot believes that interaction with dogs makes the residents feel at ease and has been proven to have many health benefits.

“Pet therapy awakens so many senses,” Talbot said. “I think it gives the residents a sense of home.”

Bagel has a pleasing personality and loves people.

“If I could describe Bagel’s personality in one word, it would be pleasing,” Talbot said. “She strives to make people happy and is always excited to see them.”

Heritage Living Center is a 140-bed skilled nursing facility.  

Talbot is excited to introduce Bagel to new residents as they arrive at Heritage Living Center.

“If anyone wants to come by and see Bagel, they are more than welcome,” Talbot said. “I love showing her off.”